Beneath the streets of Liverpool, England exists a mysterious labyrinth of tunnels which have no known purpose. The tunnels were built between 1810 and 1840 by Joseph Williamson, an eccentric local businessman. Over the past 15 years, people have started to explore the network of tunnels and thanks to the rise of the Internet during that time people have now started sharing their finds.
Friends of Williamson’s Tunnels is an organization that was founded in 1996. The group has conducted extensive excavation work on the tunnels. They have uncovered cellar systems, areas with multiple levels, and more than 120 trash skips filled with litter from people utilizing the tunnels as a means of waste disposal.
Member of the Friends of Williamson’s Tunnels Les Coe said “A lot of people knew about the tunnels, but that was as far as it went. They just knew about them or heard about them.”
However, not everything the organization has uncovered has been mere garbage. The group has discovered ink wells that were once used by children at school, rare bottles and jars, ceramics, oyster shells, chamber pots, animal bones, and clay pipes. The collection shows the history of the last 200 years in Liverpool in a way that no other collection is able to.
Many people enjoy speculating about why Williamson built the tunnels. Some say that he was a smuggler who used the tunnels to transport goods. Others believe that his wife was influenced by a lunatic preacher of the apocalypse, and she convinced Williamson to prepare the tunnels in order to live underground. Yet another theory states that Williamson designed the pointless tunnels in order to employ local citizens.
One reason for uncovering the tunnels is to simply “air them out”. The tunnels were originally filled in and sealed once locals began complaining of “tunnel smells”. Their usage as underground landfills made them quite smelly. However, this issue has been reduced due to the passing of time.
Regardless of the reason for their existence, the tunnels continue to fascinate and amaze people and spark interest, even if their purpose still remains unknown.